What you need to know
- The EU is working on a new proposal aimed at reducing e-waste in the region.
- It will require smartphone manufacturers to make their devices more easily user-replaceable to extend device longevity. OEMs will also be required to make parts available.
- The full proposal will be released in mid-March.
The EU is working on a proposal to enforce easier smartphone battery replacements on phones sold in the region, as reported by Dutch paper Het Financieele Dagblad (via XDA Developers). One of the most common concerns of smartphone users is battery life, and poor battery life often prompts users to rapidly replaced a smartphone that may otherwise be performing decently enough. After all, your phone is only as good as it can stay powered on, otherwise, it's just a pretty brick.
The EU hopes this proposal will help reduce e-waste as easier battery replacements will make it so that customers will hold on to phones longer, even after a standard two year contract period. The proposal will force manufacturers to make sure that replacement parts are made easily available by OEMs, and that unsold items would be re-used and recycled.
This new proposal comes after an EU decision to regulate the use of USB-C on smartphones for the same motives, to reduce e-waste and encourage reuse of chargers and connectors.
Commenting on that decision, Android Central's Phillip Bene pointed out some flaws with it:
Companies aren't using Micro-USB or other proprietary connectors simply because they don't care about consumers ... they're using it because it's either less expensive to implement, better for their hardware design, continues to build on their ecosystem of existing products, or some combination of the three. Phones with USB-C are more expensive to make than Micro-USB. And in the case of Apple, it could lead to an unfathomable amount of devices being transitioned to a new port before the company intended to do so.
Much like with the Lightning cable, while replaceable batteries may lead to less waste, there are benefits to them like water and dust resistance. Both of these features can be said to help customers keep their phones longer by keeping them safer while in active use. Perhaps the Commission will push for cheaper or even free replacements included as part of the warranty as an alternative to replaceable backs.
The proposal will be presented in mid-March, and we'll have a much better idea of what the bloc is thinking then.